The Holy Book says: “Do not judge and you will not be judged yourself…” (Luke 6:37). At the same time however, the same Sacred Scriptures have the historical “Book of Judges”. Furthermore, the said Scriptures say the following: “Moses sat to judge the people…” (Ex. 18:13). “Why not judge for yourself what is right?” (Luke 12:57). “Don’t you know that God’s People will judge the world?...Do you know that we shall judge angels? (1 Cor. 6:2-3). Meantime, there is the multi-century old consecrated norm that says: “The Church does not judge on internal matters.” viz., She can and only pronounces judgment on what is known in the external forum through words said and deeds done. Reason: Judgment on what is externally unknown but only interiorly known to the human agent concerned is reserved to the Good Lord Who is the only One who knows even the most inner thoughts, hidden designs and desires of every individual.
Furthermore, quite significant in the many distinct apostolic works of the Catholic Church that are even housed at the center of Christendom at the Vatican City State, are the following strictly judicial institutions: The Apostolic Penitentiary. The Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. The Tribunal of the Roman Rota. As subordinate judicial entities in Archdiocese and Dioceses the world over, there are Ecclesiastical Tribunals of First Instance and Tribunals of Appeals. All these institutions and entities are manned by Churchmen who precisely make judgment on given issues and pertinent controversies.
Finally, there are also the Civil/Criminal Courts all over the land, from Regional Trial Courts, to the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court—inclusive of Barangay Courts of one kind or another. All these pronounce judgments.
So what? What’s the big deal? Why the fuss? Here is why and what:
The biblical passage saying that no one should judge or the same would be judged, is readily invoked but not properly understood, is rather easily quoted but neither clearly perceived in context nor rightly appreciated in implication. Otherwise, everything that has to do with judgment in the Holy Book, in the Universal Catholic Church, inclusive of the secular world, would be in deliberate, gross and continuous violations of the “no judging made and no judgment received” principle as above quoted.
Who is wise or fool, who is capable or incompetent, who is credible or despicable, who is innocent or guilty, who is virtuous or vicious, who is a public sinner or a great saint, etc. etc.—all these are susceptible of public perception through external words and deeds, and thus asking for pursuant judgment. It would be great to know someone who does not in any way judge others even if only in his or her inner thought and personal conviction—the same way he or she judges what is right or wrong, what is to be done or omitted, who is good or bad. There are even machines that judge who is lying or telling the truth. There are also computers that judge who has psychopathic genes or criminal minds. Yes, rash judgments are taboo. But wise and prudent judgments are realities on the ground, in the world.
14 May 2008